ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The U.S. Coast Guard and Canada Coast Guard conducted a cooperative search and rescue training exercise near Herschel Island, Yukon, Canada, on Saturday.
The exercise centered around the French cruise ship Le Commandant Charcot, whose crew simulated an onboard fire with severe personal injuries and a complete evacuation of the vessel.
The crew of a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Kodiak were first to respond to the simulated distress call and acted as the on-scene commander for the exercise, coordinating response efforts and relaying communications.
Later a Royal Canadian Air Force HC-130 crew responded to drop medical supplies and response personnel onto Herschel Island where exercise participants that were acting as injury victims awaited treatment.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak also responded by lowering a rescue swimmer onto the deck of the cruise ship to hoist mannequins acting as injured crew members.
"The increase in human activity in the arctic means there may be a potential for increased Search & Rescue response there as well," said Captain Brian McLaughlin, Chief of Incident Management at U.S. Coast Guard District Seventeen. "Exercising the Coast Guard's capabilities to operate in one of the most demanding and remote regions in the world, while simultaneously identifying the associated challenges, highlights the critical importance of these joint exercises and their influence on future operational success along our shared maritime border with Canada."
The exercise, which took more than a year to plan, is part of the Coast Guard’s ongoing commitment to a safe and secure arctic.
Correction: The title of this press release was changed to reflect all entities involved.